James Murdock

Rookie (06/13/1986 / Dahlonega, GA)

Observations Of A Park Employee - Poem by James Murdock

She sinks back

Behind the shoulder

Of her

Also bewildered companion

And shrieks, 

The reaction comes

With the sight

Of a malicious groundhog

The only question: 

Will it viciously attack? 

By claw or by disease

I try and guide her

Be paralyzed no more, but

Stretch carefully around it

And please...please

Do not stop to

Gaze in horror upon the

Common Garter Snake

The woods need not

More deafening screams

'Do you have a map of this park? '

I give him the printed sheet

Then pause

A test of his awareness

To catch any sign of

Cartographic Intelligence

He pauses

There is silence

His eyes comb over the paper

Frantic in their searching

For some meaning

There must be some meaning, 


Broken lines, bold lines

Strange Archaic symbols

Of fire and shelter

Dear God

The panic of wanting

To know

He scrambles of everything

With exception to

The map's key

I give him a calming look

In his eyes

As to say, 

'It will be okay, sir, 

I'm here to help'

His nervous smile


I chuckle

Inside and Out

Entertained in-part

Frightened in part

This exchange has been

Taking place

Too often

They share a shy groan

At passing

The unrefined


Grass-roots couple

Coming down the mountain

Having never known

The scent of
Wild Ginger

And a Natural body

Then share a laugh

Through their teeth

The quivering jaws of

Yuppie buffoons

Sadly, I think

They will always laugh

At the type of

Authentic Experience

They will never

Be acquainted with

'Does the store here sell bug spray? '

'No ma'am, 

We do not advocate

Covering your child's body with



'And it is February

So...not so many insects.'

Europeans and pink trash

Stare into the face of the falconer

As if seeing

For that first moment

'This must be the
Master of the Wild! '

A shocked German: 

'Ve do not habe animals in my country.'

'You're an animal.'

'But ve do not habe schnakes.'

'Yes, you do

Germany is not

Ireland or Antarctica.'

What is it with these people? 

'So, you guys, like, 

Have a, like, waterfall

In this park? '

'We don't have a

Like Waterfall; 

It's an actual waterfall.'

It becomes more difficult

Not to revert

To rudeness

I argue for five minutes

With a fast talking, 



About which direction

The entrance of our park is

Persistent, he looks

Into the

Lustrous Silver Screen

Of his GPS

And is completely lost

I recommend

Buying a map

More children with

The Disney Syndrome

More patriots

Seeking converts

More buses bringing

The city's

Tarnished masses

Stand before me

With your

Subdivision clubhouse

Plastic nametag


'Atlanta Wildlife Society, 

Master Naturalist'

'What wildlife, 

You damned people have

Buried it all! '

I then silently

Thank God

That Georgia's rivers do not

Flow North

From that

Concrete cesspool 

A deep breathe

And a good thought: 

I can go home to my valley

Gentile souls will greet me

And attend to my tales

Of grief

I can drink beer

With my dogs

They are like children

That it's okay to

Get drunk around

And there

Beneath the Hemlocks

I can cling to the earth

And all that is

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Poem Submitted: Monday, July 29, 2013

Poem Edited: Tuesday, July 30, 2013

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